The concept of talent is one of the concepts that has generated most interest in the field of research in psychology. This is no less true: its presence or absence has to do with the degree to which we perform in a given task, so this factor has a decisive impact not only on the development of self-esteem given a given context, but also on the world of work and organizations.
That is why, nowadays, one of the challenges faced by projects that involve several people coordinating in teams is the management of their members’ talents.
On talent: Silvia Guarnieri’s perspective
To learn a little more about the nature of talent, on this occasion we spoke with Silvia Guarnieri, writer, teacher and Master Coach specialized in learning processes in organizations, among other things. Guarnieri is also a founding partner and academic director of the Escuela Europea de Coaching (EEC), one of the most important coaching training institutions. Today, she answers our questions to make it clear that we need to go beyond quantitative logic in organizations, so that we can address qualitative aspects such as talent development.
It is said that with enough time of training virtually anyone can develop extraordinary skills. However, in order for this to happen, persistence is needed. Is motivation just another mental ability, or does it depend fundamentally on the context and the degree to which one is able to motivate someone?
When a student starts the Executive Coaching Certification Program at EEC the first thing he or she hears from the teachers is an idea that is repeated throughout the Program: we all have a talent, sometimes hidden, waiting to be revealed.
Most of us spend our lives connected to different issues that have marked our context, culture, family, etc. This leaves us unexplored by other professions or activities that could make our different talents grow more exponentially.
Not all of us are lucky enough to have excelled at something as children, such as being able to play the violin, and then practice it to become a musical virtuoso. That this happens to us is like winning the lottery. I myself spent a period of my life writing stories, it literally seemed that someone was dictating them to me. One day I ran out of inspiration and there were no more stories in my life. What made one or the other happen, if the only thing that happened differently was the passage of time?
We have been led to believe that we are unique and that our talent is also unique. The truth is that our skills and interests change throughout our lives. For example, medicine may have taken up all the hours of study and dedication at one point in our lives, and we may be fed up with the profession (with all the law in the world) and want to devote ourselves to writing books or macramé. The word that comes to mind is freedom: talent and motivation are ignited when we feel free to choose, to make mistakes and to choose again.
In turn, the motivation, that engine to do something, comes to us for different reasons difficult to identify in a single event or fact. The truth is that many times we discover our talent by opposition: that is to say something in our body, in our emotion tells us that “enough is enough” or “up to here” and that is where the real search begins. We connect with the desire, with the motivation and we give free rein to the imagination to explore the unexplored.
Therefore, doing a continuous personal work to know what motivates us today, where our interests, desires or needs go is of vital importance to identify our hidden talents and also, by the way, to find happiness in the new paths.
Would you say that as a general rule Spanish companies are skilled at detecting workers with untapped potential in their own teams?
Spanish companies are immersed in a changing context in which, of course, the possibility for their employees to grow and develop goes hand in hand with the company’s results.
Personal and professional growth is achieved in several ways: by taking on new responsibilities and roles, seeking motivation and, above all, by challenging the skills of company members. Nothing motivates us more than knowing that we have resources, facing a challenge thinking “I don’t know how I’m going to get out of this” and suddenly seeing how we find our worth and our own resource and succeed. What we learn from these experiences is that if we have been able to meet this challenge, we will be able to meet the next one, that there is nothing left for us to do. The company that manages to generate this emotion in its workers will be a company that grows exponentially.
What common mistakes have you noticed that companies make when managing the talent among the members of the organization?
Perhaps the most common is that of pre-retirement talent. When it comes to “coffee for all” and early retirement for workers who are older than that, I think we are looking at the short term and losing in the long term. When this happens, companies are left without history and without history they are left without identity. A mere mercantile exercise is prevailing, a high salary for a low one, without seeing the loss that this decision means.
From your point of view, what forms of talent will become increasingly important in the labour market over the next few years?
No doubt about it, the flexibility. Not sticking to what we do with the products or services we have created. The books are full of examples of companies that have not been able to release their star product in time and have ended up closing down. This has to do with human nature itself, which on the one hand struggles to grow and on the other hand finds it hard to pay the cost of that growth.
Knowing that we are not what we do today, that what we are capable of doing today is only a part of our infinite capacity.
In relation to the previous question… what types of leadership do you think will gain importance as these new talents emerge in the organizational environment?
The leader is no longer defined as the one who leads, but the one who influences. Today’s companies need fewer bosses and more shared, collaborative and participative leadership. On the other hand, we must not forget that we are all leaders. Networking, project work, agile methodologies, intrapreneurship… the professional does not have just one boss, but he is in many projects and in some of them he can even be the person in charge of the team…
There are more and more trends, tools and ways of working that allow most employees to be leaders of their own project.
Do you think that the company is an environment in which it is easy for the worker to internalize limiting beliefs, or do these come from before, from personal life?
I think that people do not have beliefs, but beliefs have us trapped without our being aware. Every workplace has its own culture that is transparent to those who live in it.
When we have the opportunity to travel we realize that customs rooted in beliefs are passed down from generation to generation and if no one reviews or questions them they simply repeat themselves.
In the company the same thing happens: we realize that a behavior is not useful when we perform it and again and again and we do not get the desired result.
One belief is only changed by another. They come from the environment and from inside our heads the stories we tell are full of powerful and limiting beliefs.
When we review the story (be it the staff, the team, the company or the family) and we manage to change it for another one that gives us more capacity for action, we have already changed. The story has the force of law for our hearts
And I also think that we should each be able to take the freedom to choose the place where we want to work according to our values and beliefs. A place that somehow responds to our needs and interests.
Finally, and in general terms, what strategies of self-knowledge would you propose to break down these limiting beliefs?
He thinks that belief changes a behavior and this changes the system in which we move. When a family member changes, the whole family picture changes.
Therefore, changing a belief has a significant personal cost. When we see the light at the end of the tunnel, we usually love the change of belief, but along the way we often doubt whether or not it is worth so much transformation.
Therefore, coaching processes in their broadest sense assist in learning new ways of doing things in line with the new stories and beliefs we have been able to build. The coach and his client pursue, from a human and vital connection, the implementation towards the fullness, the illusion and the personal and professional development of the client.